Books · Jottings

August Roundup

And with a blink of an eye and a lot of sunshine, August is done! A bumper month of reading as always thanks to three weeks off work. The hot weather where the only thing to do is lie in the shade and read probably helped as well.

Let’s get the crime out the way first with Robert Galbraith – Troubled Blood. I waited until the paperback came out before reading this as it is a hefty tome and I am frightened of doing myself a mischief when reading it. As good as always and had me completely hooked. Now with the latest out, I am not sure if I can wait for that in paperback or just bite the bullet and order the hardback? It is so great to be completely lost within a story.

The next in line and in the series of Hawthorne and Horowitz was Anthony Horowitz – The Twist of the Knife. As clever as all the previous ones with plenty of twists and the inclusion of the author as a character and main protagonist makes for interesting reading, even if it might make for difficult writing.

Series of crime books can be a blessing and a curse, you could say they all turn out to be very much the same, but sometimes that formula is what you need. So I think this is where I would put the book Merryn Allingham – Murder at the Priory. The latest in the Flora Steele series of books and where the idyllic village set in Fifties Britain makes you convinced that Miss Marple might pop up at any moment.

In fact she did in Various – Marple. Twelve new short stories featuring the aforementioned and all penned by current authors who keep to the mystery style and also an element of their own but with plenty of Christie to make you think you are reading some forgotten Christie works. As short stores they were perfect diversions and well written. Not sure I could pick a favourite.

The mystery of a miracle features in Anne Booth – Small Miracles as I was immersed in a convent with only three nuns remaining. Is it really a miracle or faith that these three nuns need? A joyful, peaceful escapist novel.

Peaceful is always what you might want from a holiday and even if you have to do a bit of work as well. In Jo Thomas – Retreat to the Spanish Sun, I did retreat and learnt about the food of Spain and of the warmth and sometimes coldness of the characters as I escaped. I am just discovering Jo’s novels and I am looking forward to escaping again and again.

We all know Cornwall is a popular destination for holidays in the UK and therefore it was a delight to revisit this summer myself. Well via a book or two. First up was Cressida McLaughlin – The Cornish Cream Tea Holiday, the series has flourished as we get to visit other parts of the area and find other characters to love as everyone finds their happy ever after. With a dollop of clotted cream of course!

Then I was more weather obsessed in Cornwall with Ali McNamara – Cornish Clouds and Silver Lining Skies. A beautiful book full of sun, rain, myth and mystery as well on the Cornish coast. Vibrantly brought to life by the author I could taste the salt of the sea on my skin as I read.

Weather is always a good plot device in a book as it can create atmosphere and also prove to be a challenge for some of its main characters. In the first I think of my Christmas ‘type’ reads for 2022 (there is many more to follow) then the latest Heartcross book fills that spot. Christie Barlow – New Beginnings at the Old Bakehouse is full of snow and chocolate and would be the perfect book to read by the fire. Which seemed completely om contrast to when I was reading it in 30 degree heat!

I am always trying new authors, but sometimes it looks like I tend to stick similar authors or the same ones. Even if the previous book has disappointed or not hit the mark, I have gone back time and time again. I think I need to stop doing this. I felt this way about Helen Rolfe – Finding Happiness at Heritage View, part of a series which I did not know about until I had finished (think this was book five). It was nice and an okay read but I wasn’t blown away by it. I always feel bad when books I read make me feel like this. Feeling bad again when I finished reading Tilly Tennant – A Home at Cornflower Cottage has made me think about whether I will pick up something from these authors again. I have come to the conclusion that there is nothing wrong with these books, it is just I have grown in my reading and grown away from them. Perhaps one day I will return.

But you do have to keep trying authors sometimes and that was why I found myself back with this book Faith Hogan – The GIN Sisters’ Promise. A book for fans of family sagas and all that sibling rivalry with the backdrop of a wild Irish landscape and a double gin! I might return to this author.

Second books are notoriously difficult so they say. I don’t think this applies to Freya Sampson – The Girl on the 88 Bus whose delightful novel which includes the cross generational friendships and the possibility of finding something you have lost. I think Freya Sampson is becoming an author to look out for.

Going back to an author can be easy as it is difficult. But it was easy with Cathy Bramley – My Kind of Happy which absorbed me from page one and had me right to the end, with the book read in less than 24 hours. Something just appeals with the writing, the characters, the depth of plot and in this case all the flowers. It is funny how some books hit the spot and others just don’t.

As well as returning to authors when a new book arrives, there is also the joy in rereading some. I very rarely do, because of so many books to read I suppose but I did treat myself to P.G.Wodehouse – Carry on Jeeves which was a sheer joy. I did have all the books and gave them away years ago which I regret. These are a delight to keep going back to and might get another one to indulge in soon.

So that was August, 15 books apparently giving me a good place to be going into autumn and the final stretch of 2022 and the goal of 100 books. Do tell me what you have been reading, anything I have missed? And also do share about how you feel about books from authors you have previously enjoyed but are just not hitting the spot now?

In the meantime, let’s get cracking with the Christmas books (yes it is coming!)

4 thoughts on “August Roundup

  1. You read a lot of books in August! I have The Twist of a Knife to read soon, so I’m pleased to hear it’s as clever and interesting as the previous ones.

  2. I loved Twist of a Knife and Murder at the Priory too. I’ve got a Cathy Bramley to read next week on holiday and am really looking forward to it.

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